I can predict with uncanny accuracy the emotional strength and depth of a man’s relationship with his wife or girlfriend in the way he responds to this question:
“Tell me about her?”
On the surface it’s a simple enough inquiry, a few innocuous words used in everyday language to gain a better understanding about anyone or anything; and certainly not some underhanded tactic to lure a man into stepping on his Johnson. But the point is this. The first words he uses to describe her will tell me everything – it tells me what he values most in her.
- “She’s beautiful”
- “She’s a great mom.”
- “She’s really fun.”
There is nothing inherently wrong with any of these answers. All are qualities every man wants, or should at least, in a significant other and each are traits that testify to the splendor womanhood. But would anyone agree these or any number of similar superficial motives be reason enough to commit a life to someone?
I’ve asked this same question to scores of men, those in long-term relationship and others who’ve just met someone. It’s the same question anyone might ask. And the unfortunate thing is that few answers I received lead me to believe the man has honestly considered why he is with who he is with. And what’s even more regrettable, I don’t think women are much different.
Every man, whether he knows it or not, has a certain set of characteristics he desires in a woman. For many, especially younger men, it begins and ends with the physical, giving little if any consideration to what will be left when the pretty face wears off. For example every time, and I do mean every time, he immediately responds with ‘she’s hot!’ you can guarantee that relationship will not last. Why? He’s far too enamored with her goddess looks to possess the capacity for ever moving beyond the superficial. But when the moment comes where he looks at her and doesn’t notice her stunning beauty any longer, he’ll be left wondering “Why am I with this woman?”
Any attribute, be it looks, career, physique, or personality are merely what grabs his attention; it can never be enough keep him committed. Unless there is a deeper inspiration within him, any surface level motivation will eventually wear thin. Here’s how I know this, ask almost any man who’s been in a long term relationship or marriage why he’s with who he’s with and the reason he gives will be different than when they first met. Shallowness can never be the necessary glue to hold two people together for a lifetime. I believe this notion is best described in a poster I saw once over a urinal at a sports bar; the image was a beautiful woman in a string bikini. The caption underneath read,
“She may be beautiful now, but somebody somewhere is sick and tired of putting up with her shit.”
Unless the man has a profound awareness and understanding of why he chose her over the others, and calls back to that if and when the relationship begins to waver, that romance will ultimately meets its demise, literally or metaphorically.
Had you asked me a decade ago why I was with my now ex-wife I couldn’t have given you an answer. As far as I was concerned I merely did what every other thirty something American male was supposed do. I found the first woman, loosely based on what I thought I was looking for, that seemed compatible at the time, drank the Kool-aide, and then did what I was told from that point on. Even today aside from those shallow motivations I can’t explain what it was that led, and then kept, me in the relationship for ten years. And I before anyone grasp how pitiful that is.
If relationships and marriages need performance evaluations the first question on the review should be this,
“Why are you with who you are with?”
Intuitively this seems such an obvious thing; we are investing the hours and days of our limited life to be with another human being, shouldn’t we know why we are doing it? Should we not have a clear understanding of what exactly it is about this person that generates such feelings of loyalty and passion? And for the record, anyone who believes the Hollywood induced notion that ‘because I love them’ is enough hasn’t reached the necessary maturity level to fully understand what relationships are all about.
I’m convinced this is a question that we should ask ourselves often paying extremely close attention to our response. If we can’t articulate why we are with the person in terms that don’t come off sounding like an infomercial, we should begin trying harder. Being with someone because they are a good ‘provider’ or a ‘she has a great job’ is about like wearing a shirt because it brings out your eyes. What happens if he stops being a good provider or she loses her job? Is it any wonder why after a failed relationship we lament, “They aren’t the person I once met?” If our relationship is based on purely bourgeois qualities then no one will be the person we first met.
I could provide a laundry list of reasons why I became interested in the Queen, including her beauty, her passion, kindness, her artistic talents, or her soft nature. But none of them are the reasons why she is still my Queen today.
The Queen is the only woman I have ever met who by her mere presence in my life makes me want to be a better man – for her, my children, myself, and for those around me.
And as far as I’m concerned that is a quality which will last forever.